Photobook by Alan Gignoux
Opencast coal mining has led to the destruction of hundreds of German villages over the last century. Although Germany has promised to phase out coal by 2038, extraction continues and the future of several villages hangs in the balance. Combining Alan Gignoux’s photographs of abandoned houses and Chloe Juno’s images of the personal belongings left behind by departing families, Monuments documents and commemorates communities in North-Rhine Westphalia earmarked for demolition.
The two photographers take different approaches to highlighting the erasure of shared history and collective memory. Gignoux’s images document the destruction of houses, gardens, schools, shops, churches, businesses, roads, the infrastructure of entire communities, while Juno’s photographs show us personal objects that recall individual lives.
Designed by Chloe Juno and Emily Macaulay, the spiral-bound book features Gignoux’s landscape photographs presented as generous spreads with Juno’s objects photographs overlaid as inserts of varying sizes. The book includes archival material, including a found German household goods catalogue and Google images showing the creeping expansion of the surface mines.
Monuments comes with two stickers printed with slogans protesting against the mines and a Christmas card with an image of a Christmas stocking taken by Juno as she was walking around the condemned village of Keyenburg.